Household Division of Labor, Partnerships and Children: Evidence from Europe
This paper complements conventional economic analysis and presents a social norms interpretation to explain cross-country differences in partnership formation rates, and the dramatic decrease in partnership formation rates in Southern Europe in particular. We argue that increases in female human capital - by raising the opportunity cost of entering a partnership - had a differential impact on partnership formation rates in Northern and Southern Europe due to the different social norms regarding the household division of labor. Social norms are modeled as a constraint on the allocation of household labor that (if binding) diminishes the gains to enter a partnership. Furthermore, highly educated women are less likely to form a partnership, because the utility loss when a partnership is formed is lower the higher the female opportunity cost. We test the predictions of the model using 7 waves of the European Community Household panel (1995-2001). For each country and year we construct the average of the female to male ratio of childcare time as an indicator of social norms regarding the household division of labor. The empirical findings support the predictions of the model. After controlling for the time and country variation in the data, as well as for permanent individual heterogeneity and other aggregate variables at the country level, the results suggest that more traditional social norms regarding the household division of labor negatively affect a woman`s probability of forming a partnership. Thus, a woman living in a country with a more traditional division of household labor has, ceteris paribus, a lower probability of forming a partnership. Furthermore, as predicted by the theory, social norms have a stronger negative effect for highly educated women. To the extent that female education has increased over the years, and that Southern European countries have more traditional social norms, this latter finding may partly explain the dramatic decrease in partnership formation rates in Southern Europe.
|Date of creation:||01 Jun 2007|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ|
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paola Giuliano, 2005.
"Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?,"
2005 Meeting Papers
189, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Paola Giuliano, 2007. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 927-952, 09.
- Giuliano, Paola, 2006. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 2042, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2002. "Housework and Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 217-229.
- Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra, 2005.
"Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli, 2006. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 552-561, 04-05.
- Raquel Fernandez & Alessandra Fogli, 2005. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," Working Papers 05-14, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
- Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli, 2005. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," NBER Working Papers 11569, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gonzalez, Libertad, 2006.
"The Effect of Benefits on Single Motherhood in Europe,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2026, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Gonzalez, Libertad, 2007. "The effect of benefits on single motherhood in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 393-412, June.
- Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
- David S. Loughran, 2002. "The Effect Of Male Wage Inequality On Female Age At First Marriage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 237-250, May.
- Juster, F. Thomas & Stafford, Frank P., 1990.
"The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioural Models, and Problems of Measurement,"
Working Paper Series
258, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
- Tomas Frejka & Gérard Calot, 2001. "Cohort Reproductive Patterns in Low-Fertility Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(1), pages 103-132.
- Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana Amyra, 1984. "A Theory of Allocation of Time in Markets for Labour and Marriage," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 863-882, December.
- Scott Drewianka, 2003. "Estimating Social Effects in Matching Markets: Externalities in Spousal Search," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 409-423, May.
- Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-338, May.
- Charles F. Manski, 2000.
"Economic Analysis of Social Interactions,"
NBER Working Papers
7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert D. Retherford & Naohiro Ogawa & Rikiya Matsukura, 2001. "Late Marriage and Less Marriage in Japan," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(1), pages 65-102.
- Franco Peracchi, 2002. "The European Community Household Panel: A review," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90.
- Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2004.
"Subjective Outcomes in Economics,"
Southern Economic Journal,
Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 2-11, July.
- Almudena Sevilla-Sanz, 2007. "Division of Household Labor and Cross-Country Differences in Household Formation Rates," Economics Series Working Papers 325, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Alícia Adserà, 2004. "Changing fertility rates in developed countries. The impact of labor market institutions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(1), pages 17-43, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:333. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Monica Birds)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.